What to expect afterwards
What happens after you have your wisdom teeth removed will depend on the type of anaesthesia you have. If you have general anaesthesia or sedation, make sure someone can take you home. And ask someone to stay with you for a day or so while the anaesthetic wears off.
After local anaesthesia, it may take several hours before the feeling comes back into your face and jaw. Take special care not to bump or knock the area. Don’t eat or drink anything for the first six hours after the procedure. You might have some discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off. But you'll be offered pain relief as you need it. You will be able to go home when you feel ready.
Your dentist or oral surgeon should give you some advice about looking after your teeth and gums before you go home. You may be given painkillers and mouthwash to use at home. You may also be prescribed a course of antibiotics to take, if there are signs that you have an infection when your tooth is taken out.
Recovering from wisdom teeth removal
It may take a few days to feel completely better after wisdom teeth removal. You’re likely to have some pain and discomfort after the procedure. This is usually worse for the first couple of days. You can take over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
As well as some pain, you may also have some swelling and stiffness in your jaw for a couple of days. This can make it difficult to open your mouth. Using an ice pack wrapped in a towel can help to reduce this.
Keeping the wound clean
Rinsing out your mouth will keep the wound clean and help it to heal. Do this very gently during the first 24 hours. If you rinse too forcefully, it can move the blood clots that have developed over the wound, and this can cause bleeding. Rinse after you have eaten with an antimicrobial mouthwash or salt water. This helps to get rid of bits of food.
Brush your teeth as usual, as best you can, gradually getting closer to the wound over a few days. After three or four days, you should be able to gently brush away any dissolving stitches you may have had.
If your wound starts to bleed after the procedure, you can bite down on a piece of gauze or a handkerchief for five minutes to stop it. Don’t eat very hot or cold food if your wound is bleeding, as this can make it start again.
Eating and drinking
You shouldn’t eat or drink at all for the first few hours after the operation. Then, for the first few days, stick to soft or liquid foods only. You can gradually return to your usual diet, but to begin with, try not to chew on the areas of your mouth that are healing. It’s best if you avoid alcohol or very hot or cold drinks for the first 24 hours.